January 7th, 2014

GC Capital Ideas Top Stories: December 2013

Posted at 1:00 AM ET

1.  January 1, 2014 Renewals Bring Downward Pressure on Pricing: Guy Carpenter reports that reinsurance rates-on-line (ROLs) fell at the January 1, 2014 renewal in nearly all classes and regions. According to Guy Carpenter’s 2014 global renewal report, strong balance sheets, relatively low loss experiences and an unprecedented influx of convergence capital spurred competition and innovation at renewal. These factors led in turn to surplus capacity across most business segments as competition spilled beyond property catastrophe lines.

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2. Review of 2013 Reinsurance Renewals: As we anticipate the January 1, 2014, reinsurance renewal, we review here the major renewals that occurred in 2013 as reported in GC Capital Ideas.

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3. Windstorm Xaver: A powerful storm named Xaver battered Northern Europe with hurricane-force wind gusts and massive storm surges on December 6, causing widespread property damage and severely disrupting transport networks. The most severe damage was reported in the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands. Around 1,400 properties were flooded in the United Kingdom alone after eastern coastal regions experienced the most severe storm surge since 1953.

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4. Chart: Catastrophe Bond Issuance and Capital Outstanding - 1997 to July 31, 2013: Issuance reached USD4.8 billion in the first seven months of 2013. Risk capital outstanding also reached an all-time high of around USD16.6 billion during the same period.

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5. Chart: Combined Ratio, Guy Carpenter Global Composite: Chart presents the combined ratio for the Guy Carpenter Global Reinsurance Composite, 2004 through third quarter, 2013.

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6. Solar Weather: Historical Events: The severity of space weather varies as the Sun follows a consistent 11-year cycle of changing solar activity. The next cycle peak is expected between 2013 and 2015. Extreme geomagnetic events are nevertheless relatively rare, with return period estimates ranging from between 100 and 200 years to up to 500 year.  Less severe events are more frequent and often occur on an annual basis. The cumulative impact of milder disturbances should not be underestimated, however, particularly as our dependency on power increases and power infrastructure in some countries fatigues with age.

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7. Chart: Guy Carpenter Global Rate on Line Index, January 2013: The Guy Carpenter Global Property Catastrophe Reinsurance ROL index fell marginally at the January 1, 2013, renewal. This is the seventh consecutive annual renewal in which changes to the index have equaled 10 percent or less, indicating a global market with capacity appropriate to meet demand.

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8. July 1 Renewals Indicate Downward Pressure on Reinsurance Rates Likely to Continue through 2013: Guy Carpenter reports that reinsurance market ROLs continued to be driven by an influx of capital from third-party investors at the July 1 renewals, in spite of catastrophe losses reaching approximately USD20 billion during the first six months of 2013 (above the ten-year average for the period). In a briefing released today, Guy Carpenter comments that robust catastrophe bond, sidecar and collateralized reinsurance activity throughout the year has for the first time pushed pricing in the capital markets to “decouple” or breakaway from levels set by the traditional market. This has in turn prompted downward pressure on overall traditional market pricing.

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9. Risk Profile, Appetite, and Tolerance: Fundamental Concepts in Risk Management and Reinsurance Effectiveness: Prior to the recent turbulence in the financial markets, insurers and reinsurers were increasing their use of enterprise risk management to make risk and capital management decisions. While this was driven in part by rating agencies and regulators, many carriers began to recognize the value of metric-based frameworks and capital models in evaluating their portfolios.

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10. Indexation Clauses in Liability Reinsurance Treaties:  A Comparison Across Europe: The Indexation Clause - otherwise referred to as the stability clause, inflation clause, or severe inflation clause - is designed to maintain the real monetary value of the retention and (where applicable) the limit under a long-tail excess of loss reinsurance treaty over the duration of the claims payout pattern. The clause is only relevant to losses that are of a long-tail nature (that take a long time to become paid) and is commonly found in the terms and conditions of motor liability, general liability and professional liability excess of loss reinsurance contracts of European cedents.

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*Securities or investments, as applicable, are offered in the United States through GC Securities, a division of MMC Securities Corp., a US registered broker-dealer and member FINRA/NFA/SIPC. Main Office: 1166 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036. Phone: (212) 345-5000. Securities or investments, as applicable, are offered in the European Union by GC Securities, a division of MMC Securities (Europe) Ltd. (MMCSEL), which is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, main office 25 The North Colonnade, Canary Wharf, London E14 5HS. Reinsurance products are placed through qualified affiliates of Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC. MMC Securities Corp., MMC Securities (Europe) Ltd. and Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC are affiliates owned by Marsh & McLennan Companies. This communication is not intended as an offer to sell or a solicitation of any offer to buy any security, financial instrument, reinsurance or insurance product. **GC Analytics is a registered mark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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